Facts about Slovakia

We found 37 facts about Slovakia

A land of castles and palaces

Slovakia is a small landlocked country that was established in its present form after the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993. It is one of the countries bordering Poland, with which it shares access to the High Tatras. As much as 61% of its area is covered by mountains, largely covered with mixed forests. The remaining area is covered by mountain valleys and a few lowlands. It is famous for its beautiful views, castles and palaces, which it has the most in the world per one citizen. It also has a capital that is the only one in the world that borders two countries.

Slovakia is a unitary landlocked country located in Central Europe.

It is a state characterized by internal unity in which all administrative units constituting the state are organized in the same way and subordinated to the central authorities.

It is a small country with an area of 49.036 square kilometers.

It borders Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary.

Slovakia has no access to the sea, is characterized by a mountainous landscape and moderate climate.

It is a mountain country because as much as 61% of the area of Slovakia is covered by numerous ranges of the Western Carpathians (Tatra Mountains, White Carpathians, Lesser Carpathians, Low Tatras, Slovak Ore Mountains, Great and Little Fatra) and the Eastern Carpathians (Bieszczady Mountains and Vihorlat Mountains).

The highest point in Slovakia is Gerlach (2655 m above sea level) in the Tatra Mountains - the highest peak of the Tatra Mountains and the entire Carpathians.

Gerlach is located on the side ridge of the High Tatras and belongs to the Crown of Europe and the Great Crown of the Tatras.

A relatively small part of the country's area is covered by lowland areas - about 40%.

These are three lowlands: the Záhorská Lowland - the smallest, in the southwestern part of the country, the Danubian Lowland - the largest, and the Eastern Slovak Lowland - in the south and southeast, with the lowest point of the state's surface (94.7 m above sea level) at the intersection of the Bodrog River with the state border.

The oldest fragments of the Slovak mountains are the central part of the Western Carpathians. The youngest are located in the south of the country and come from the Quaternary.

The highest mountain range in the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains with 29 peaks higher than 2500 m above sea level. They cover an area of 750 square kilometers, most of which - 600 square kilometers - is located in Slovakia. They are divided into several parts. In the north, near the Polish border, are the High Tatras, a popular hiking and skiing destination and home to many picturesque lakes and valleys. Their highest peak is Gerlach. The Tatra Mountains are represented as one of three hills in the coat of arms of Slovakia.

According to nature lovers, the most beautiful peak of the High Tatras in Slovakia is Kriváň (2495 m above sea level).

It is a peak easily accessible thanks to well-maintained, marked trails. It is a favorite mountain of hikers in the western part of the High Tatras. Kriváň has also been an important symbol of Slovak ethnic and national activism over the last two centuries. It has been referenced in art from 19th-century literature, through paintings, and documentaries, to Polish rock bands. In 2005, a nationwide vote selected it as an element on Slovak euro coins (1, 2, and 5 cent coins). The first VIP to reach the summit was the 43-year-old King of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II, in 1840.

Slovakia has a dense river network, 96% of which belongs to the Danube catchment area (Black Sea catchment area), and the remaining 4% to the Vistula catchment area (Baltic Sea catchment area).

The largest rivers in Slovakia are the Danube, Váh, Hron, Morava, Bodrog, Latorica, and Laborec. The longest river is the Váh - 403 km, and the shortest is Čierna Voda. Most rivers flow in the Slovak mountains. Some flow only through Slovakia, and others form a natural border with neighboring countries (over 620 km), e.g. Dunajec in the north, the Danube in the south, and Morava in the west. The total length of rivers in Slovakia is 49.774 km.

There are no glaciers in the Slovak Carpathians.

There are numerous waterfalls in the mountain zone.

The largest and deepest lake in Slovakia is Veľké Hincovo pleso - a Tatra pond located in the Hincovo Valley, which is the upper part of the Mengusovská Valley in the Slovak part of the High Tatras.

The natural lakes of Slovakia are large lakes of glacial origin, which were formed as a result of the retreat of the ice sheet.

Slovakia has 9 national parks covering 6.5% of the country's area, as well as numerous reserves and protected landscape areas.

Protected areas cover a total of 12.3 thousand square kilometers. The history of nature protection in Slovakia dates back to the 13th century when the European bison and the area of the current "Badinsky prales" reserve near Banská Bystrica were protected. The first protected area - the Great Garden in the Wielicka Valley in the High Tatras - was designated in 1876. The first national park in Slovakia was the Tatra National Park, established in 1948.

Slovakia has over 2400 caves, of which only over 400 have been explored so far.

Five of them have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are: Dobšinska Ice Cave in Slovak Paradise, Domica Cave - Slovak Karst, Gombasek Cave - Slovak Karst, Jasovska Cave - Slovak Karst and Ochtyńska Aragonite Cave - Slovak Karst. There are 30 caves available to visitors. Most of them have stalagmites and stalactites.

Slovakia, like the Czech Republic and Poland, is located in a mixed forest zone.

Forests cover 44% of Slovakia's territory. In terms of trees - 60% are deciduous trees and 40% are coniferous trees.

The oldest preserved artifacts from what is now Slovakia date back to 270.000 BC (early Paleolithic).

They are located near Nové Město nad Váhom and are ancient tools made of flint. Stone tools found in the Prevot cave in Bojnice date back to the Middle Paleolithic period. The most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal skull (around 200.000 BC) discovered near the village of Ganovce in northern Slovakia. Archaeologists found prehistoric human skeletons in this area, as well as numerous objects and traces of the Gravettian culture.

The most famous archaeological finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth bone - the famous Venus of Moravia (22.800 BC).

This sculpture was found in the 1940s in the town of Moravany nad Vahom near Piešťany.

Between 1003 and 1031, the lands of today's Slovakia were part of the Kingdom of Poland, after being annexed by Bolesław I the Brave.

During the reign of Saint Stephen I, today's lands of Slovakia were incorporated into the Kingdom of Hungary - to this day, the Hungarian minority in Slovakia constitutes approximately 10% of the population.

There was also Polish settlement in Slovakia from the 15th century.

Today, 4602 Poles live there. The areas where Poles lived became the subject of disputes between Poland and Slovakia in 1938. This was also the reason why Slovakia, as a puppet state of the Third Reich, attacked Poland in 1939, occupying, among others, Zakopane, where the official Slovak victory parade took place - it can be said that Slovakia was the third occupier during World War II.

From the 15th to the 19th century, the Habsburgs ruled the territory of Slovakia.

After the fall of the Habsburgs, Slovakia co-founded Czechoslovakia. In the period 1939-1944, it was an independent fascist state under the rule of Jozef Tiso. In the years 1945-1992, it was again part of Czechoslovakia.

Since January 1, 1993, Slovakia has again an independent state as the Slovak Republic.

In the same year, it also became a member of the UN. In 2004, it became a member of NATO, and since May 1, 2004, it has been a member of the European Union. In 2009, it became a member of the eurozone. It is also a member of the Visegrád Group.

The capital of the Slovak Republic is Bratislava.

It is also the largest city in Slovakia in terms of population (437.726 people). Bratislava is located on the Danube (it stretches on both banks) near the border with Austria and Hungary. Due to this location, it is the only capital in the world that borders two countries. The city is the seat of the highest state authorities. It is also the center of cultural, social, economic, and political life. Bratislava has many valuable monuments. It houses, among others, the Gothic cathedral of St. Martin, which was the coronation place of Hungarian kings for 300 years.

In the town of Kremnické Bane, which is an old mining settlement mentioned in 1361, there is (according to one concept) the geographical center of Europe.

The symbolic center of Europe is located above the village, next to the Gothic Church of Saint Joseph, from the roof of which water flows on one side into the Váh River and on the other side into the Hron River. Near the church, there is also the highest point of the commune, the Trnovnik rock with a height of 990 m above sea level.

The favorite drink of Slovaks is Kofola, a non-alcoholic carbonated cola drink produced in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

It was created in 1960 in Czechoslovakia, where it gained the greatest popularity. Kofola is the main competitor of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The main ingredient of the drink is Kofo syrup, consisting of 14 herbal and fruit ingredients, water, sugar, caffeine, and caramel. Compared to Pepsi or Coca-Cola, it contains 30% less sugar, more caffeine, and no phosphates. It is popular in restaurants, where it can be poured straight from the barrel, just like beer.

Slovaks drink 12 liters of pure alcohol a year.
Every year, a marathon street race - the International Peace Marathon - takes place on the streets of Košice (the second largest city in Slovakia).

The first edition took place on October 28, 1924, making it the oldest marathon in Europe. Since 1980, women have also participated in the marathon. After the Boston Marathon (April 19, 1897), it is the second oldest marathon in the world.

Slovakia has 1657 thermal springs.

This is the official number, but it is estimated that there are many more.

In Slovakia, all students up to the age of 26 travel by train for free.

This program also applies to retirees (over 62 years of age), disability pensioners, and people on bridge pensions. This also applies to students and retirees from abroad. Moreover, along with free trains, the relief of commuting to work for other population groups was increased from 30% to 50%.

The most popular dish in Slovak cuisine is haluški.

These are small dumplings made of flour, potatoes, sheep's milk cheese, fried bacon, cracklings, and bacon. Over 5 million people are living in Slovakia and it seems that there are approximately the same number of ways to make haluški.

Janosik considered a Tatra hero operating on the Polish side of the mountains, was Slovak, not Polish.

He was a Carpathian highwayman and a Slovak national hero who lived at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. His name was Juraj Janosik, and he was Slovak and came from the village of Terchova, near Žilina. While serving in the Austrian army, he met a certain Tomas Uhorcik, who was a troublemaker of Carpathian bandits and joined his band of bandits. When Uhorcik left the gang, Janosik became the new harnaś. He operated on the Hungarian-Polish border, and the victims of his attacks were mainly merchants, parish priests, postal messengers, and other wealthy people. He robbed mainly for himself and did not share with the poor. In 1713, he was captured, tried, and sentenced to death by hanging on a hook by his left rib.

In the second half of the 18th century, Juraj Janosik became a Slovak national hero.

It began to be positively associated with the Tatra Mountains. The legend that he operated by robbing the rich and giving gifts to the poor became popular. In the 19th century, his figure also became common in Beskid folklore, spreading to the Moravian Margraviate, Hungary, and Ukraine. In Slovakia, he was perceived in two ways: as a common bandit and as a noble robber. In Poland, only his positive version was known.

Janosik's image appeared in 1944 on the Slovak 500-krona banknote, and in 1947 also on the 2-krona coin.

Celebrated on March 26, Good Thief's Day is also called Janosik's Day.

In the birthplace of Janosik, in the village of Terchova, in the north-west of Slovakia, the inhabitants immortalized the figure of their hero in a monumental sculpture.

On a green hill above the road to the Vrátna Valley in Little Fatra stands the Janosik Monument made of steel sheet, measuring 7.5 m high. It was built in 1988 and its author is the academic sculptor Jan Kulich.

Slovakia can boast of many representative cultural and historical buildings.

Within its area, you can find over a hundred strongholds and castles and at least twice as many palaces, built in different historical eras. In the past, they were the scene of many historical events, and their owners decided the fate of the country for centuries. Particularly in the Baroque period, they included elegant gardens and parks, and landowners' manors can still be found in almost every Slovak commune. Spiš Castle (the largest castle complex in Central Europe) with the surrounding monuments was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.

In Kremnica, in central Slovakia, there is a mint considered to be the oldest facility of this type in the world.

The beginnings of its activity date back to 1328. Currently, the Kremnica mint mints, among others, Slovak euro coins.

In the Gothic parish church of St. Saint James in Levoča (eastern Slovakia, Spiš), there is the highest wooden altar in the world.

Its height is 18.62 m. Its author is the famous sculptor from the Gothic period, Master Paul of Levoča. Although the church burned down many times and there was a war going on around it, the most damage to the altar was caused by bark beetles. The team that undertook its conservation in the years 1952-1954 was awarded state awards.

In the town of Kolarovo, there is a wooden bridge that ranks among the longest in Europe.

It is a bridge on the Little Dunajec. Its length is 86 m and its width is 2.25 m. The bridge does not have any concrete pillars or other protective elements. It was built in a record time of nine days in 1992 by local nature guards. It is a faithful copy of a bridge from the 1950s that no longer exists and was created based on the accounts of people who remembered its appearance. The bridge is made of specially impregnated acacia wood - in this condition, it should last about 150 years. It leads to a local attraction - a floating mill.

Slovakia is home to the only cold geyser in Europe and one of the eight cold geysers known on Earth - the Herl'any geyser.

During drilling to find new thermal springs in Herl'any, near Kosice, in 1875 a cool geyser, unique in these parts of the world, was discovered. Its explosions are caused by the accumulation of gases in deep rock cracks, mainly carbon dioxide, which, after reaching a sufficiently high pressure, eject the water flowing into the hole. The geyser is a natural monument and a great tourist attraction.

In the territory of the Slanske Vrchy mountains, between the towns of Zlata Bana and Cervenica, there are famous Slovak opal mines.

These mines are now a valuable monument in Slovakia. They had their best time in the years 1845-1880 when the tenant of the mine was the Viennese jeweler Salomon Goldschmidt, and after him, his descendants. This family exported the obtained opals to world markets and gained them worldwide fame. The largest opal in the world is Harlekyn, found in 1775 in the bed of the Olsavka stream (2970 carats). It is an exhibit of the nature museum in Vienna - its price is estimated at half a million USD. The Burning of Troy opal is part of the French Crown Treasure. In 1889, a nest of opals was discovered in the Viliam adit, which was named Gisela Chapel. This nest produced 200 kg of these precious gemstones.

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